This blog has moved! Please join us over at!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Baby Boy Tanner, Brother to Zachary Stephen and Cameron Anthony

M. writes:
My Husband and I are expecting our second baby boy in 3 months and are having a hard time with a name. He has a son, my stepson, named Zachary Stephen and we have one named Cameron Anthony. Both boys have part of my husbands name as their middle names, Anthony Stephen. The main problem is we both come from large families and avoiding names that our siblings and cousins have used is getting to be hard. Our last name is Tanner and we have been avoiding names that end with an "er" because they usually dont flow well. We finally decided we like the name Greyson, but when I asked my mom about it she doesn't want me to use it because my cousin's 13 year old daughter's name is Gracen. I personally only see this cousin a few times a year and don't see the big deal. She is a obviously a girl and is much older, plus the names aren't exactly the same. We have also said we may call him Grey. ( Zack, Cam and Grey) She says it will be confusing for her and her sisters because they are very close and will always have to clarify who's "Greyson" they are referring to. What do you think, should I not use this name? Middle names are a whole other issue. No family names left that we like that aren't already used by our siblings also as middle names. For instance, we like Thomas. It was my husband's father's name and also has meaning because we were married in St. Thomas, but our nephew's middle name is Thomas. Noone calls him Thomas, does this matter? Please help us with your opinion on these names and maybe any suggestions of similar names.

I think that when it is difficult enough already to find a non-duplicating name that both parents love and agree on, a slight inconvenience to another family member doesn't need to be taken into account. Even picturing my very own dear mother (because it is so easy to imagine making Confident Declarations to other people's imagined mothers, but not so easy when it is a real mother), I can picture saying kindly, "Yes, it might be a little confusing once in awhile, but it'll be okay." Chances are that context alone will clarify things for them: "Gracen is driving me crazy: the door-slamming, the pickiness about clothes, the hours in the bathroom..." is not likely to cause confusion about which child is being described, nor is "Greyson is teething and up all hours of the night." In fact, which sister is talking will go a long way to clarify which child is being referred to. And, you've found an excellent and easy solution for her in any case: she can refer to him as Grey when talking with her siblings. But even if it were a constant confusion (two boys named Greyson born a month apart, for example), or even if she doesn't want to call him Grey, it STILL seems to minor an issue to be a deal-breaker: surely they would quickly develop a habit of clarifying it: "M's Greyson" and "L's Gracen," for example.

The only downside of the name to me is that both the first name and the surname evoke colors. Do you like the name Mason instead? Cason? Dawson? Harrison? Hudson? Jackson? Bryson? Anderson? Carson? Dayton? Lawson? Grady? Logan? Griffin? Gavin? Liam?

If you like the name Thomas for a middle name and you have two good reasons to use it, I don't see a single reason why it matters that your nephew has the same middle name. It won't even cause the minor confusion your mother worries about with the first name. Even if your nephew's FIRST name were Thomas, I'd still say there was no reason not to use it as a middle name. In large families, the occasional duplication is normal and expected, and certainly not worth choosing names you don't even like just to avoid it---particularly in the middle name slot.


lifeofadoctorswife said...

I wholly agree with Swistle on both counts: a boy and girl second cousin of different ages with similar names should not cause that big of a problem.

And Thomas seems like the perfect middle name for your son - it's meaningful and has family roots. I think it would be pleasing, as a child, to share a middle name with a loved cousin. And if I didn't spend time with the cousin, then it would hardly be on my radar.

I did not have any twinge at the colors in the name; even now that Swistle has pointed it out I feel more that "Tanner" is a profession name than a color name. (I realize it IS a color - it just doesn't jump out at me.)

Sonia said...

FWIW, my teenage nephew and pre-K age son have the same middle name, and it has caused absolutely no confusion. Use Thomas! And use Greyson for all the reasons Swistle said.

Elisabeth said...

My husband has two cousins named Christian. They are 10 years apart and I really don't think it's ever been very confusing. One side of my family has many, many uses of the same middle name. That has not been confusing at all.

I absolutely think you should use Greyson Thomas.

Anonymous said...

Hate to be a downer, but I can't get beyond the color thing, now that it's been pointed out.

Homa said...

On my mother's side, we use the middle name to connect with one another. My aunt, cousin, niece, younger daughter, grand-daughter and I all have the same middle name of Lea. My mother and older daughter share Louise. And Lynn is used by another branch.

Anonymous said...

The color thing jumped out at me instantaneously and in a negative way. This is highly subjective, but I'm glad that Swistle mentioned it.

I love the idea of repeating Ts by using Thomas Tanner, but I know lots of people hate that.

What about Calvin or Callum?

Diane said...

Even after Swistle pointed out the color thing, I had to stop and figure out what she was talking about. For me, Tanner is an occupation name, not a color name.

The color thing seems to be very subjective!

I think Greyson Thomas Tanner is a fine name.

StephLove said...

I agree the duplication issues are minor enough not to stop you from using the names. And the color thing doesn't bother me. If it was Greyson Brown it might, but Greyson Tanner doesn't. So I'd go with Greyson Thomas, but if you want more ideas about about Alexander?

Zachary, Cameron & Alexander
Alexander Thomas Tanner

The Mrs. said...

Greyson Thomas seems like a winner!

If the color thing begins to grate on you, though, what about the name Ruston?

Ruston Thomas Tanner

Zack, Cam, and Russ.

Also, good idea not to pick a name that ends in 'er'. It would make his full name sound cludgy.

All the best to you and your family!

Barb @ getupandplay said...

I, too, like Greyson Thomas! Go for it!

Jan said...

If you love it, yes, use Greyson Thomas Tanner.

I do see the color thing. One of the suggestions, Ruston sounds like a color, too.

Personally, I don't really like it when it sounds like the person has two last names aka a law firm name. Other suggestions: Jeremy, Benjamin, Malcolm, Gabriel.

Noelle said...

I agree with Swistle on this one. I don't see an issue in using those names. I did pick up on them both being color names and I don't think its a deal breaker. I love Grey for a nickname too.
Also, Ruston is a color name too.

Jenny Grace said...

I have a very large family, with a family-names-as-middle-names tradition, and thus, repeating middle names. It is absolutely no problem.
I see no reason not to use Greyson.

Kas said...

I love the name Greyson and i would not see it as a problem for his secound cousin to have a similiar name i think your mum can just refer to yr son as Grey and there will be no confusion! Thomas is also a great name, Greyson Thomas is lovely! I did not pick up on the colour thing and to me it isnt really an issue!

Greyer is another option which i also love!!

Congrats and good luck

Brittany said...

I really like your choice of Greyson Thomas Tanner with a nn of Grey! I heartily agree that you should use it if it's what you love most. I don't think a shared middle name is a big deal at all, especially in a large family. The color association is subtle and not a deal-breaker. I think of Tanner as an occupation before a color.

Frazzled Mom said...

While Greyson Tanner does NOT evoke a color to me, Grey Tanner DOES evoke a color. If Grey is only used by the Grandmother to differentiate the baby from his cousin, then perhaps the color wouldn't matter to me.

While I would personally avoid repeating first names within a family, I see no problem repeating middle names. I actually think repeating middle names are a nice family tradition. I have the same middle name as my Mom, and my daughter has the same middle name. And when you are talking about cousins, especially if you are using an honoring middle name, I almost feel repeat middle names are to be expected.